Many of us has a critical part of that wants to tell us that we’re not enough of something or that we’re too much of something else. Inner critics are completely culturally-created – if our culture tells us that intelligence is a good thing, our inner critic might say that we are not intelligent enough. If our culture tells us that humility is a good thing, our inner critic might say that we are not humble enough. If our culture tells us that thin is in, our inner critic might tell us we are too fat. If our culture tells us that hard work is a good quality, our inner critic might tell us that we are lazy.
Our inner critic is always afraid of something, and is trying to motivate us to do something to keep us away from the thing it is afraid of. If our inner critic is culturally-created from a specific fear, there is hope that we can be counter-cultural and rework our inner critic’s messages from a place of love. if we can reframe our inner messages so that they are not so threatening, we’ll have a good chance of soothing the inner critic and, subsequently, ourselves.
I invite you into a little exercise around motivation. I invite you to review a critical message you find in your mind sometimes, and see if you can find a way to offer encouragement instead. For example, you might often say to yourself, “I am too sensitive,” and you may have repeatedly received that message throughout your life from external sources as well. How would it be to change that to, “I am naturally sensitive,” or, “I am organically sensitive,” or, “I am a Sensitive,” or, “Sensitivity comes naturally to me,” or even, “Sometimes I pick up on things other people don’t pick up on”?
Maybe your inner critic tells you that you should eat less because if don’t you will be fat and no-one will love you. How would it be to acknowledge that you comfort eat as a way to soothe yourself when you are feeling really bad? How would it be to acknowledge that you are in pain and you deserve to feel some soothing, just as every human being deserves to feel soothed? How would it be to acknowledge that you have a coping strategy that has really helped you to get through life? How would it be to acknowledge that you love food? How would it be to acknowledge that food brings you joy and that you want joy in your life?
When we are able to claim our attributes simply for what they are and to imbue them with a sense of authority, self-sovereignty and even pride, we can transform how we feel toward ourselves and motivate ourselves from a place of love and self-appreciation rather than criticism, unworthiness and fear.
If you’re having trouble finding supportive statements, have a think about how you might speak to a dear friend. How do you turn their self-criticism into supportive statements? If you’re still having trouble, email me – firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to travel with you on your self-compassion journey. You also might like to sign up for my 2-hour online workshop, Somatic Self-Compassion for Easing the Inner Critic. See you on the path .